The city of Bordeaux, an unmissable part of France’s heritage and a true capital of the world of wine, has over the last few decades re-established its influence, becoming an important, dynamic and attractive metropolis of France. A symbol of savoir-faire, creativity and French art of living, Bordeaux is the birthplace of my French Winemaker project.
“In addition to its historic heart, Bordeaux also offers contemporary urban spaces”
Historic and innovative architecture
With the splendour of its honey-coloured stone and its 350 historic monuments, the centre of Bordeaux is the largest urban area to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
While the Cathedral of Saint André, the Grosse Cloche and the Porte Cailhau represent the architecture of the 11th and 12th centuries, the majestic Place de la Bourse and the famous Grand Théâtre epitomise the golden age of 18th century Bordeaux.
In addition to its historic heart, Bordeaux also offers contemporary urban spaces such as the Musée Mer Marine (Museum of the Sea and Seafaring), the Arkéa Arena and the MECA (Maison de l’Economie et de la Culture d’Aquitaine).
And last but not least, the city is enhanced by more than 150 parks and French-style gardens, such as the magnificent Jardin Public in the heart of Bordeaux.
The stone bridge of Bordeaux
World Wine Capital
With its 7,000 châteaux, the largest Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée vineyard in France, 23 bottles of its wine sold every second in the world and its prestigious Grands Crus Classés, Bordeaux is indisputably the world capital of wine.
Situated on the 45th parallel north and close to the Atlantic Ocean, the characteristics of the region are exceptional for the cultivation of vines. It was during the Roman Empire that the first vines were planted around Bordeaux, known at the time as Burdigala. However, it was not until the 12th century that wine production experienced a considerable boom, thanks to international trade with England in particular and then later, in the 17th century, with the countries of Northern Europe. The importance of Bordeaux’s port – the famous Port of the Moon – also drew attention to the wines of this area, enabling their export around the world in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the Paris Exposition and the 1855 classification of the Grands Crus Classés gave visibility and world renown to the region’s best wines.
From a technical point of view, Bordeaux is historically a pioneer of development in the wine industry. A symbol of these discoveries, the famous “bouillie bordelaise” or Bordeaux mixture, has been used since the 19th century to fight against mildew – a disease that devastates vineyards all over the world. In the 20th century, Bordeaux saw the birth of modern oenology, thanks to the work of Emile Peynaud and Pascal Ribéreau-Gayon, whose studies are still used today to understand and teach oenology throughout the world.
Epicentre of culture and gastronomy
In recent years, Bordeaux has added to its architectural and wine-growing heritage and has also become an epicentre of French culture and gastronomy.
With its 1600 restaurants, Bordeaux has the highest number of restaurants per inhabitant of any French city. Some internationally renowned Michelin-starred chefs, such as Pierre Gagnaire, Philippe Etchebest and Gordon Ramsay have even settled here. You’ll discover all kinds of cuisine, specialities and traditions in Bordeaux. From Michelin-starred restaurant to the various brasseries, gastronomy in Bordeaux has something to delight every palate, even the most discerning.
The number one item in the city’s budget, with an investment of €330 per year per inhabitant, culture is an integral part of Bordeaux life. With its national opera, 12 different themed museums, 15 annual festivals of international reach, its 37 concert halls and concert cafés, not forgetting its numerous sports facilities, Bordeaux is bursting with energy, excitement and life.
A relaxing natural heritage
Close to the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Gironde River, Bordeaux is a city where you can really breathe. The climate is pleasant, with the sea air softening the winters and refreshing the summers.
What’s more, the area also possesses an exceptional natural heritage within easy reach of the city centre. The immense Landes Forest, the great Lake Hourtin, the imposing Dune du Pyla, not forgetting the Bay of Arcachon and the Côte d’Argent with its 180 kilometres of fine sandy beaches, provide an incredible diversity of landscape and access to numerous relaxing outdoor pursuits.
To finish, I’ll just say that after many years, Bordeaux, the city that used to be thought of as a beautiful sleeping beauty has now awoken in all its splendour, to become one of the most dynamic regions in France. A truly international brand for tourism with its 7 million annual visitors, Bordeaux is today an unmissable city that I recommend to all lovers of culture, excitement and French art of living.